Handmade rabbet plane

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Project by Ben posted 11-24-2012 05:44 AM 17072 views 18 times favorited 31 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I’ve been wanting to make a plane for a while now so I figured a rabbet plane would be perfect. I decided to make the blade myself. After doing plenty of research, I thought I might try to make the blade myself. I welded inch of 3/16 inch thick O1 tool steel onto the end of an half inch by 7 inch long piece of mild steel. As you can tell by the pictures, the weld could have been prettier, but after heat treating and some lapping i got the back flat near the edge and the sides to taper slightly from the edge. Its a first attempt so I’ve definitely learned a few things which was my main goal.
The plane body is made from as straight a grained red oak I had on hand. It’s finished with beeswax to fill the pores, and then boiled linseed oil. The wax is another experiment I wanted to try after seeing a video about Roubo’s polisier. I almost didn’t use the oil because the wax left a great finish, but I figured it couldn’t hurt.
As always, comments, critiques, and questions are always welcome.

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31 comments so far

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273 posts in 4769 days

#1 posted 11-24-2012 06:24 AM

I forgot to mention it’s approximately an inch wide. Also, having never used a wooden body plane before I was surprised at how easy it pushes compared to a metal body plane.

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118161 posts in 4633 days

#2 posted 11-24-2012 06:47 AM

Nice looking plane Ben good job.


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273 posts in 4769 days

#3 posted 11-24-2012 07:08 AM

Thanks Jim it sure was great fun a huge learning experience.

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40 posts in 4253 days

#4 posted 11-24-2012 12:57 PM

Enjoyed your post, nicely done.
Where did you go to get most of your research? I’m have been pondering a home built plane also and I just can’t justify the cost of those kits. Maybe I should just dive in, nothing better than OTJ training.

-- - If it ain't broke, don't lend it!

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3198 posts in 3246 days

#5 posted 11-24-2012 01:45 PM

Great looking plane, really nice job on the build. Did you have any plans to follow? Also, I’m curious as to how you added the chamfer and still kept the clean crisp edges.
Thanks for showing.

-- "I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The point is to bring them the real facts." - Abraham Lincoln

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Don W

19992 posts in 3623 days

#6 posted 11-24-2012 01:57 PM

Nice job. A mix of metal and wood. Great project.

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View Ben's profile


273 posts in 4769 days

#7 posted 11-24-2012 02:07 PM

@deltawood I would have to say my research has been done all over a very long period of time from many different sites. That being said, from everything I’ve found, all you need is a plane iron and an idea. The tool steel was the most expensive part of my build, but you could easily by a cheap replacement blade from a big box store. I’ve watched YouTube videos, I’ve read as many blogs as I could, from big pink to lost art press and Ron hicks the sharpening blog. There is some great info on plane and iron making in those. I just recently had the need to build one and I have learned much beyond the basics from the actual build than I really have anywhere else. Let me know I’ve answered your question.

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273 posts in 4769 days

#8 posted 11-24-2012 02:14 PM

@oldtool I mostly just made up the plane sizes as I went. I knew the inal look i wanted, but beyond that I let the plane iron and wood I had on hand determine my dimensions. I knew I wanted it big enough to easily fit my hand but not so big it would be unwieldy. It’s 10 inches long and 3.5 inches high. The blade is about 2/3 from the front edge. It looked good there when I was laying it out. I read somewhere rabbet planes are about 50 degree bed angles so I eyeballed it and used a bevel gauge to keep it consistent and then made another line for how hick I thought the wedge should be. The chamfered long edges were done with a hand plane after scribing lines. The ends were done with a sharp chisel again to scribe lines. Let me know if you have any more questions.

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470 posts in 3748 days

#9 posted 11-24-2012 09:24 PM

very nice indeed, simple and elegant

-- - Greetings from Brazil - --

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273 posts in 4769 days

#10 posted 11-24-2012 10:18 PM

Thanks sergiozal. I try to keep things fluff free.

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View Doug's profile


1239 posts in 3817 days

#11 posted 11-25-2012 12:42 AM

Nice work. I could have used one of those a couple of weeks ago. In any of the information you came across was there any mention of a scoring blade that preceeded the plane iron?

-- Doug

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#12 posted 11-25-2012 01:32 AM

looking sharp :-)
nice design


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273 posts in 4769 days

#13 posted 11-25-2012 02:25 AM

@nobuckle. I have seen some with a scoring blade. In fact, I just watched one of the woodwrights episodes and he used one with a nicker. Those are designed to go cross grain. One type was specifically for making dados and it had a nicker on both sides of the blade. The other was I believe a moving fillister plane for making rabbets at the end of a board. It has a fence and a single nicker. Each has a skewed plane iron to make smoother cuts cross grain. I could conceivably add a couple marking gauge type blades to either side which could retract, but my iron is straight. A few dado planes are certainly on my list of the things to make.
Next on my list though is a plough plane, and I’m currently making four blades from 1/8 in to 1/2 in in 1/8 in increments. Both are tools I need to finish my next project by hand.
Hope this answers your question.

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View LeslieC's profile


152 posts in 3154 days

#14 posted 11-25-2012 03:13 AM

Simple, functional, perfect! If I don’t win a fillister plane on ebay, I’m going to make my own shoulder plane, as you have. I need to find an iron for my vintage router plane. Do you have any information I could use? Thanks so much.


-- There is nothing like a Grateful Dead concert.

View Ben's profile


273 posts in 4769 days

#15 posted 11-25-2012 03:54 AM

@lesliec If it’s on old Stanley, the veritas plane uses identical blades. Otherwise I’m not sure if I can be much help. Good luck on the eBay endeavor.

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